Monday, January 25, 2010

Follow-up on resolutions, and other things that have been keeping me busy

I know all of you have been dying to hear how my resolutions are coming along, and what's a better time to do a follow-up than January 25? That's plenty of time for me to mess them up, and just enough time for me to figure out if I'm actually doing any of them on a regular basis.

I have been spending more time on the couch, mostly reading and watching tv, and sometimes even napping! I know, I know, the average American spends something like five hours a day watching tv. My husband and I tried to figure out exactly what we'd have to eliminate to have five extra hours for tv-watching. Hubby actually watches more tv than I do, but he's better at getting up and doing things while it's on. As my dear friend, A, can attest to, I cannot CANNOT! do anything else while the tv is on. I'm even bad at eating and watching tv! I'm going to guesstimate and say that during the week, we max out at an hour and a half of tv-watching per day. And it's really more like 45 minutes. We've got other things to do. So what would we have to eliminate to have the extra three and a half to four and a quarter hours a day for tv-watching? Well, the hour and a half at the gym, plus 20-30 min. round trip commute would have to go. The eating dinner at the table like civilized people (20-30 min.) would also have to go. The 30 min., or so, of reading before bed, and the 45 min-1 hour of cooking dinner and doing the dishes would be gone, too. And maybe some of that glorious time we spend sleeping.

Of course, I wasn't aiming to spend as much time on the couch as the average American. I was thinking an hour or two a day, maybe more on weekends, would be enough time for me to do sufficient relaxing and unwinding without losing that special je ne sais quoi that is the zaniness of life with Virginia. I'd say, so far, so good!

The second thing on the list is to lead a deliberate life. I'm deliberately spending more time on the couch, but that's not really what I meant. Y'know that diet tip to ask yourself why you're eating whatever it is that you're eating, as in, am I hungry? sad? bored? That's more along the lines of what I meant. Why am I doing this? Did someone tell me to, do I think I'm supposed to be doing this, or do I actually want to do this?

I have a couple of projects that I'm working on, or will be working on, for various reasons. The first is taking a trip to Europe. Why am I doing this?: uh, hello? a trip to Europe, and it totally helps that we have friends there who don't mind putting up with us for two weeks. Or, I should say, they went to college with my husband--he's the one the won't mind putting up with; they just think they won't mind putting up with me. No one told me to do this, and I don't think I'm supposed to do this; I definitely want to take a trip to Europe.

I sent our friends in Zurich a Christmas card, asking them to email me so we could work on the trip. I said something like, we're going to try to come in March. The wife wrote me and said they'd love to have us, if everything works out. Not being fully up on the Virginia-translator, she clearly thought the "try" referred to the trip in general, and not the month in particular. You can bet that if you're our friend, or our facebook friend, and you live somewhere interesting, specifically outside of the US, then hubby and I will definitely be visiting you.

The second project is getting my wedding photos into an album. Yes, I've been married two and a half years now, but there have just been other things to do. Like grad school. And getting a job. And Egypt. And putting the Egypt photos into an album. And buying a house. And moving. Good grief! But enough is enough! I have a box of wedding photos, my planning binders, extra invitations, and various other wedding-related flotsam and jetsam, and I need to do something with it! Why an album? Because they're photos. Has anyone told me to do this? No, and I don't even need to--my mother already made us a very nice wedding album. Do I even want to do this? Well, yes, and no. I'd like to have all of the photos in the album. Which could be a quick process: just slap some double-sided tape on those suckers and stick them on pages. But I also want it to look nice. Y'know, like I thought about it. So this will take time. And the entire surface of the dining room table (my husband loves projects like this). So, I think the end result will justify the time spent. And if I ever feel otherwise, I can always just box up everything again.

On that note, I am not a fan of keeping stuff in boxes. As in, if we have it, but it stays in a box forever, why do we have it in the first place? The only things I can justify keeping in boxes for the long term are the Christmas decorations, and even those come out of the boxes every year. So, I guess, I'll be scrapbooking my wedding photos or discarding them. The end.

As for actively being happier. I think I'm getting more sleep, and that makes me happy. Or at least less crabby. I've been doing more things I like. I just read on the Happiness Project that thinking that you always deserve the best is actually a bad thing because it sets you up for a lot of disappointment. This has me thinking a lot. Partially because I'm waaaay too type-A to be a "good enough is good enough" sort of person, but also because I've always thought, this isn't good enough, this isn't what I want.

For example, I never wanted to go to college. Everybody who knows me knows this. I hated college. Most people I know enjoy college, in general. I enjoyed my senior year. I'm not going to spend the rest of the rant going into how much I disliked college and why (I already wrote a rant along these lines when I read Three Cups of Tea). I will say that despite my attitude, and my misery, I did manage to make a group of wonderful friends, who must have thought I was better than my then state of melodrama, because they truly are fabulous people and I am eternally thankful to them for getting me though my personal hell.

The irony is that I am always encouraging people to go back to school or finish their degree or to get a certification or whatever. Because I believe in education. I think it makes you a better, smarter, more worldly, and more employable person. Which was my whole goal: to graduate from college with a degree that enabled me to get a good job so that I wouldn't have to live with my parents and eat ramen noodles three times a day. (Mission accomplished!)

Did college disappoint me? Not at all, but I had already set it up as the pit of despair, so it would have been hard to miss that mark.

But I am constantly disappointed by things that aren't my choice at all. I wouldn't choose to be short. I wouldn't choose to wear bifocals. I don't think I'd choose this generation. In fact, I don't think I'd choose to have as many choices as I do (I was just reading in Businessweek how some grocery store chains are going to limit the options for some products (I believe they mentioned beauty products specifically) as studies show that they sell more when consumers have fewer choices. Apparently I'm not the only one who finds the menu at the Cheesecake factory overwhelming.)

Unfortunately, I'm not sure what I'd choose instead. Is it better being taller? I'd be able to reach more things, and some dresses would hang better, but I'd run the risk that my sister and my aunt do, that I'd be as tall, if not taller, than my husband, and, like my sister and my aunt, my sleeves would probably always be too short.

Is there a better generation? Women have more options and choices now than they ever did before. Again, I'm not sure I want more options and choices, but I sure as hell don't want someone else deciding this for me. And I like wearing pants.

I'm going to risk mis-quoting Sheryl Crow here, but she has a line in one of her songs that says "'s not about having what you want, it's about wanting what you've got." I've always thought that was a fabulous attitude, even though I in-no-way embody it. But I'm going to continue to work on it because I've definitely got a lot of good things. And that makes me happy.

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